This book, jammed with information that's only come to light in recent years, tells a number of fascinating stories. For starters, there's the story of an intellectual adventure. Venona was a small group of government employees who, with fearsome gobs of skull-sweat and toil, decrypted thousands of secret communications sent between Soviet embassies and Moscow during and immediately after World War II. The messages used an encryption scheme so complex that it would be a challenge to crack even with today's technologies. But teams of Americans and Brits--mostly female, as it happens, although there were plenty of brilliant men--were able to decode them with little more than pencil, paper, and brainpower. Venona is also a story of terrible treachery. Independently corroborated by data from the Soviet and Comintern archives, the Venona decryptions confirm things that were once controversial. For example: the American Communist Party was a puppet of Moscow that eagerly engaged...
BACKGROUND Venona was the cover name of a top secret US government project that from the 1940's to the 1980's intercepted and decoded Soviet government messages all over the world. Venona gave numerous facts about Soviet espionage from some 3000 messages. Venona was officially revealed in 1995 The Soviets got hints about Venona, but thought their codes were safe. TIDBITS Learning details about spies, the US government often did not prosecute, since it would alert the Soviets that their codes were being broken. Instead the FBI often maneuvered to keep spies away from sensitive positions by stopping promotions or having people fired. Often when a spy was brought to trial, the government still held back evidence. Therefore, many spies were never convicted, or got off easy. This gave ammunition to leftist public opinion who claimed "McCarthyism". The book details hundreds of spies/cases such as Alger Hiss, the Rosenbergs, the Manhattan Project, ... just to...
The authors have done a very convincing job of tying the Venona communiques to actual Soviet spies working in the US before, during and after WWII. Its revelations that high administration officials in the executive branch was a real shocker, and that these so-called "brain trusters" thought and anti-democratic communism could co-exist with American democracy is proof how how we should always be wary of the "intellectural elite". Regardless of how you feel about communism, there is no doubt that these American spies cared more about the ideals of communism, didn't see the reality of Stalin's totalitarian state, and obviously felt the American system was so bankrupt, it would never recover from the depression. I was also saddened that the Roosevelt administration was so concerned about the Nazi threat, that it would accept Stalin and his similar tactics. We see that many who were admired by the intellectuals were really spies who were more than willing...
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